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    July 28, 1887

    “That Cloud of Witnesses” The Signs of the Times, 13, 29.

    E. J. Waggoner

    “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.”SITI July 28, 1887, page 454.1

    The word “witnesses,” in this text, conveys to many a wrong idea, or, rather, many persons give it a meaning which does not belong to it in this place. A witness is one who testifies in a cause, from personal knowledge, and in this sense it is used here. This chapter is a continuation of the argument on faith, and the cloud or multitude of witnesses who are here spoken of are the worthies whose deeds are recorded in chapter 11. They are not “witnesses” in the sense that they are looking on to see us run the race, for all of them except Enoch died. Now of the dead it is said that “they know not anything” (Ecclesiastes 9:5); that in the day of their death their “thoughts perish” (Psalm 146:4); and that they are not conscious of the elevation or disgrace of even their dearest relatives. Job 14:21. It is certain, then, that those of whom the apostle says that they “all died in faith,” are not cognizant of anything that is now taking place on this earth. How then are they “witnesses”? They have all run the race, and obtained great victories through faith; and by means of the sacred record their lives bear witness to the power of a firm, abiding faith. Of Abel it is said that “he being dead yet speaketh.” So likewise all these worthies are standing by to cheer us on by their testimony as to the possibility of making the race a success.SITI July 28, 1887, page 454.2

    One stanza of an excellent hymn that is based on this passage, is ruined because the writer of the hymn mistook the meaning of the word “witnesses.” The stanza is this:-SITI July 28, 1887, page 454.3

    “A cloud of witnesses around,
    Hold thee in full survey;
    Forget the steps already trod,
    And onward urge thy way.”
    SITI July 28, 1887, page 454.4

    But this is not true. These witnesses do not hold us in survey. They know nothing of our existence. In short, they know nothing at all, because they are dead.SITI July 28, 1887, page 454.5

    “Seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses.” The position of a small word in a sentence may make a great deal of difference. The word “also” is here out of its proper place. The text should read thus: “Wherefore seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight,” etc. It is not true, as implied in the common version, that those in ancient times were compassed about with witnesses. The Bible was not written in their day, and they had no precedent for their faith. Noah had no example of those who had trusted in God before his time, and had been preserved. He had simply the word of God. There had been no rain on the earth, and if the philosophers of his day were like those of the present time, they doubtless said that such a thing was contrary to nature. Nevertheless he believed and obeyed the word of the Lord, and by so doing he “condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.”SITI July 28, 1887, page 454.6

    Abraham was called out from heathen surroundings, and “went out, not knowing whither he went.” He had not before him a long list of persons who had tested the promises of God, and found them sure. So far as we know he had never been associated with anyone who worshiped the true God. Still he had evidence enough. He had “two immutable things,” the promise and the oath of God. But we have in addition to these a great array of men “subject to like passions as we are,” who gained glorious victories through faith in God. Since they accomplished such great victories through faith, let us be encouraged to do likewise. If they, who had so much less light and encouragement than we have, persevered thus manfully, what patience and faith and zeal ought we not to exhibit!SITI July 28, 1887, page 454.7

    The apostle declares that “whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” Romans 15:4. Now there is to us abundant ground of hope, in the lives of the patriarchs. We seldom take all the encouragement from the record of their lives that we ought. We are apt to imagine that those men were composed of different stuff from what men are now, that there was something peculiar in their natures which gave them favor with God. But this is not so. Some sin or weakness appears in the life of nearly everyone. Human nature was the same in their day that it is now. Wherein, then, was their strength? Simply in this: They were able to take God at his word. It is written, “Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness.” All the difference between them and us is that they believed implicitly, while we doubt. But it is just as easy for us to believe as it was for them; otherwise there would be no propriety in giving them as our example. Indeed, it ought to be easier for us, since we have their lives as assurance that God is “a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” If human nature is the same now that it was then, we have the assurance that God is the same also, and is just as ready to give us his aid in transforming ourselves, that we may be partakers of the divine nature. The lives of these worthies, and the exhortation of the apostle were not written for nothing. Will we give them the attention that they deserve? W.SITI July 28, 1887, page 454.8

    “The Promise of His Coming” The Signs of the Times, 13, 29.

    E. J. Waggoner

    In the second epistle of Peter, the third chapter, and the third and fourth verses, we find the following statement: “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” From this, we indirectly learn two things: First, that in the last days there will be some who are teaching that the Lord is coming; for if no one were asserting that there is a promise to that effect, there would be no reason for the inquiry as to where that promise may be found. And, second, we learn that there is such a promise, and that those who teach it are correct, for they who question it are “scoffers” who walk after their own lusts.SITI July 28, 1887, page 455.1

    The question in itself is a perfectly legitimate one, if it is asked from a sincere desire to know the truth. It is only when asked by those who are “willingly ignorant,” that there is in it the element of mockery. For the benefit of the first class, a Scriptural answer to the question will be given.SITI July 28, 1887, page 455.2

    The question “Will Christ come?” does not admit of argument. The answer is given in the Bible in plain and unequivocal language. Admit the Bible to be the inspired word of God, and the question is at once answered in the affirmative. In this article, therefore, little more can be done than to cite the reader to a few of the passages which positively affirm that Christ is coming again to this earth. Those passages only will be quoted which state the simple fact. Other questions as to the time, manner, object etc., of his coming will be considered hereafter.SITI July 28, 1887, page 455.3

    Perhaps the oldest direct testimony concerning Christ’s second advent is found in the fourteenth verse of Jude. “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints.” This testimony, although second-hand may not be impeached, for it is from one who “walked with God,” and is vouched for by “the servant of Jesus Christ.”SITI July 28, 1887, page 455.4

    Another testimony is found in Numbers, chapter 24, and verse 17 verse. It may be objected that Balaam was a wicked man, and, therefore, not entitled to credit; but we must remember that at this time he was under the influence of the Spirit of God, and unable to say anything except as God permitted him. Speaking of what shall happen “in the latter days,” he says: “I shall see him, but not now; I shall behold him, but not nigh; there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Scepter shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.” The language used, as well as the context, shows that Christ is referred to; and it is his second coming that is spoken of for it is then that Christ’s enemies are to be destroyed. See 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; 2:8.SITI July 28, 1887, page 455.5

    But we have still more positive testimony in the Old Testament. Job, in the midst of his afflictions, comforted himself in the following manner: “Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book! That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever! For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God; whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.” Job 19:23-27. This language is very positive; and Job shows his sense of its importance by wishing it to be preserved by all the means of writing then known.SITI July 28, 1887, page 456.1

    Passing to the Psalms we read the testimony of David. That David was inspired of God, we learn from 2 Samuel 23:2: “The Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and his word was in my tongue.” He says: “Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence; a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him.” Psalm 50:3. Again: “Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fullness thereof. Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice before the Lord; for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth.” Psalm 96:11-13.SITI July 28, 1887, page 456.2

    We come now to the New Testament, and we shall see that the testimony is even more positive. Paul’s words in Hebrews 9:27, 28 are very explicit: “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment; so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” There is nothing figurative or uncertain about these words. They are a plain declaration of fact. Either Christ will come the second time, or else Paul is an unreliable witness. The latter, no Christian will admit.SITI July 28, 1887, page 456.3

    Again Paul writes: “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God.” Could language be made plainer than this? This is a statement of what shall actually occur. No more definite language can be found in the Bible. It will not do to evade this testimony by saying that Paul did not understand what he wrote. There is not the slightest evidence that he did not fully comprehend the force of every line that he wrote; but even allowing that he did not, the Holy Spirit, which inspired him, certainly did understand what he wrote, and had an object in giving it.SITI July 28, 1887, page 456.4

    Although no clearer evidence can be given than that quoted above, yet the words which come to us direct from the lips of our Lord himself, have a peculiar force. In Matthew 16:27 he says: “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.” The twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew is devoted entirely to a description of his coming, but as we are now giving direct answers to the question “Will he come?” we pass this by for the present. The same subject, however, is carried on in the twenty-fifth chapter, and in the thirty-first verse Christ says: “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory.” He here speaks of his coming as a settled fact, so that his words amount to a positive statement.SITI July 28, 1887, page 456.5

    In John 14:1-3, we have a statement by our Lord, which, if such a thing is possible, is even stronger than any of the foregoing. As Jesus was about to leave this earth, he comforted his sorrowing disciples with the following words: “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” The point of comfort in the above is the promise that he would come again. The disciples were sorrowing because he had said he was going away. He says, Be not troubled; I will come again. He did not deceive them with a false hope; he will certainly come again. His word is pledged to this and it cannot fail.SITI July 28, 1887, page 456.6

    These are only a few of the many passages which teach that Christ will come again, but they are sufficient. They are so simple that a child can understand them. No other meaning can possibly attach to them than that Christ is coming the second time to this earth. The Bible abounds with testimony to the same effect. And yet there are people who profess to believe the Bible, who say that the second coming of Christ is a non-essential doctrine. If it is not essential, why is it given so large a place in the Bible? W.SITI July 28, 1887, page 456.7

    “Bible Exposition Against Human Speculation” The Signs of the Times, 13, 29.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Says the Independent: “The anthropology of the Bible as to what awaits man after death is comprehensively given in these words: ‘Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was; and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.’ The body sinks into the bosom of its mother earth, and moulders back to dust; but the soul ascends back to God, and meets the issues of another life.”SITI July 28, 1887, page 456.8

    This doubtless expresses the unthinking belief of thousands, yet it is inconsistent and unscriptural in the following particulars:-SITI July 28, 1887, page 456.9

    1. It starts out with a Bible statement concerning the Spirit, and ends with the human statement concerning the soul, thus assuming that soul and spirit are identical; whereas:SITI July 28, 1887, page 456.10

    2. Soul and spirit are not the same. Paul prayed that the Thessalonians might be sanctified in their “whole spirit and soul and body.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23.SITI July 28, 1887, page 456.11

    3. The Spirit, which returns to God, is identical with the breath of life. Job said: “All the while my breath is in me, and the Spirit of God is in my nostrils; my lips shall not speak wickedness, nor my tongue utter deceit.” Job 27:3, 4. Compare with the expression, “the Spirit of God is in my nostrils,” Isaiah 2:22: “Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils; for wherein is he to be accounted of?” That which is in the nostrils is breath, but it is also called Spirit; and the translators made a just comment on Job 27:3, “the Spirit of God is in my nostrils,” when they placed in the margin, “That is, the breath which God gave him, Genesis 2:7.”SITI July 28, 1887, page 456.12

    4. Man was a soul, although lifeless, before he received his breath or spirit from God. See Genesis 2:7: “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” The old catechisms recognize the fact, unconsciously, perhaps, when they say that “man is a dual being, composed of a body and soul.” But the Bible says that man was formed of the dust of the ground. That everything which goes to constitute a man is also of the dust; the addition of the breath of life makes a living man.SITI July 28, 1887, page 456.13

    5. Nothing can come from man except that which was given him. There can be no more elements after dissolution than were made use of in building him. Now Genesis 2:7 is the record of the building of man, and Ecclesiastes 12:7 is the record of the manner of his unbuilding; therefore we must find the very same parts in Ecclesiastes 12:7 that we find in Genesis 2:7. In Genesis 2:7 we find dust, of which man is formed, and breath breathed into his nostrils to make him alive. In Ecclesiastes 12:7 we have the spirit or breath returning to the One who gave it, and the man returning to the dust of which he was formed. Now unless the Independent is willing to claim, and able to prove, that the breath which God gave Adam was conscious before Adam received it, or that it ever obtained consciousness while Adam had it, it had no right to assume that, it was conscious when it left Adam.SITI July 28, 1887, page 457.1

    6. Let it be emphasized that nothing “returns” to God except that which God gave, and that all that came directly from God in the making of man, was the breath. Now read two Bible statements concerning the unmaking of man, which corroborate the positions to stated: “If he [God] set his heart upon man, if he gather unto himself his spirit and his breath; all flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust.” Job 34:14, 15. And this: “Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.” Psalm 146:3, 4. These passages cover exactly the same ground as Ecclesiastes 12:7. Bible expositions of the text are much better and more trustworthy than human assumption.SITI July 28, 1887, page 457.2

    “Back Page” The Signs of the Times, 13, 29.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Under a new treaty lately made the United States and Mexico are made practically one country in the matter of postage. Hereafter letters and packages can be sent from this country to any place in Mexico as cheap as from one place to another in the United States.SITI July 28, 1887, page 464.1

    The cruel and senseless antipathy to the negro is becoming more general and more marked in the North. Lately the House of Mercy in the city of New York refused to receive a girl committed to it, solely because she is colored. At this the Independent very aptly exclaims, “Mercy!” It is very certain that that is not the kind of mercy whose equality is not strained.SITI July 28, 1887, page 464.2

    The Catholic Mirror says that out of a population in Mexico of 10,105,000, the church claims 9,864,000. If only she could claim the whole 10,105,000 then Mexico would be a “Christian nation” after the National Reformer’s own heart. However, as it is, Mexico is one of the countries which “could be represented only by Roman Catholics,” in “a world’s conference for the promotion of national Christianity,” as suggested by the Christian Statesman.SITI July 28, 1887, page 464.3

    As a good deal is being said about the great age of the Emperor Wilhelm, a German paper hunted up and published the names of all the people in Prussia that are older than he is. The list contains one hundred and sixty names of persons who are over one hundred years old. As there are many more who are more than ninety years old, and as the Emperor was only ninety on his last birthday, Kaiser Wilhelm may well feel himself not so very old after all.SITI July 28, 1887, page 464.4

    The New York Observer complains that “Sunday newspapers have done more than all other influences combined to destroy the popular reverence for the Sabbath.” And then almost in the same breath naively states that “during the summer season thousands of nominal Christians will find the Sunday newspaper where they will fail to find a place of worship or the hour of prayer.” Therefore abolish the Sunday newspaper without delay. By all means take away at once all opportunity for these very excellent nominal Christian to do wrong, so that they may all become real strong, vigorous Christians (?) by doing because they have no chance to do other than the Sunday newspaper may be a very wicked thing, but how much more wicked it is than the professed Christian who would rather read it than to go to worship or to prayer perhaps the Observer can decide, but we can’t.SITI July 28, 1887, page 464.5

    “More of Rome’s Work” The Signs of the Times, 13, 29.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The New York Observer says:-SITI July 28, 1887, page 464.6

    “There is no sign of diminution in the political activity of the Pope. Daily telegrams give him credit for efforts of one kind and another in many different quarters. It was cabled to the Herald, June 30, that King Leopold, of Belgium, had applied to the Vatican to influence the party of the right to secure the passage of a bill relating to personal military service. Manager Rampolia, the Papal Secretary, is said to favor the measure. Much of this political influence will be of no advantage to the Church of Rome, and some of it may do harm. It might be better for all concerned if the Pope would apply himself to the finances of the Church of Rome in Ohio, where the debt of the two estates of Archbishop John B. and Father Edward Purcell is reported at $3,739,321, and the number of creditors that have proven claims is 3,196. Local efforts to meet the necessities of most indigent creditors are entirely insufficient.”SITI July 28, 1887, page 464.7

    There is no danger of “this political influence” doing harm to the Church of Rome. Every particle of it will be turned to the advantage of the Papacy. They Papacy is to-day the most influential political power in the world, and in trickery, chicanery, or political influence of whatever kind Rome is abundantly able to outdo every other power, to reap advantage from every alliance, and to come out ahead in every contest.SITI July 28, 1887, page 464.8

    And as for her ever restoring what she has embezzled from the poor Catholics of Cincinnati through the two Purcells-archbishop and priest-people might as well whistle at the wind, as to call for that. So far is she from restoring any of it, she is actually adding to it the possessions of the assignee and his bondsmen of the bankrupt (?) estates. The Catholic Mirror, of July 16, gives the result of the first turn of the wheel. It says:-SITI July 28, 1887, page 464.9

    “Judge Goeble, of the Probate Court of Cincinnati, has announced the result of his investigation into the liability of J. B. Mannix and his bondsmen as assignees of the estates of Archbishop Purcell and his brother, Father Edward Purcell. He found that he was entitled to no compensation for his services as assignee, and that he an his bondsmen owe to the Edward Purcell estate $78,000, and that Mannix and his bondsmen owe to the J. B. Purcell estate $236,500. Judge Hoadly, one of the sureties, has been released by the payment of $62,500.”SITI July 28, 1887, page 464.10

    The only way in which ex-Governor Hoadly got released, however, was by paying into court everything he had, making himself a bankrupt in his old age. And now others have to follow suit, perhaps with the same result. But it is a most singular thing that the courts can find hundreds of thousands of dollars due the estates from the assignee and his bondsmen, and yet cannot find in the estates a single cent for the poor people who have been robbed of it. The fact is that Rome has the money, and she will get as much more as possible, and she will wear out all the courts in Christendom before she will restore a cent of it.SITI July 28, 1887, page 464.11

    “Prussia at the Pope’s Feet” The Signs of the Times, 13, 29.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The Pope has sent out a note of rejoicing over his triumphant conquest of Germany, upon which, under the above heading, the Christian Advocate comments as follows:-SITI July 28, 1887, page 464.12

    “One of the most pitiable spectacles presented in these later days to the world’s gaze is that of Prussia-great and Protestant Prussia-doing obeisance to the Pope of Rome.SITI July 28, 1887, page 464.13

    “If any human force could make Martin Luther and Philip Melancthon arise from their graves beneath the marble slabs in the Wittenburg church, it would be this. But, alas! so bound hand and foot is their land to-day, that not one strong voice in the whole country dares to sound the alarm and tell the whole civilized world what is going on in Berlin.SITI July 28, 1887, page 464.14

    “The climax has just been reached in the Pope’s allocution, which came by cablegram from Rome. His holiness appeals to the whole world to hear his cry of victory over German Protestantism. Here are some of his jubilant notes:-SITI July 28, 1887, page 464.15

    “‘We felt more concerned at the evils of this religious struggle with Prussia, and as we were unable to remedy them by striving alone, owing to the obstacles which impeded our power, we invoked the cooperation of the German bishops and the Catholic deputies in the Prussian diet, from whose constancy and concord the church derived great fruits, and expects still greater. Thanks to the equitable and pacific sentiments of Emperor William and his counselors the Prussian Government removed the more serious inconveniences, and then accepted the various practical conditions of peace, by which some of the former laws against the church have been repealed and others mitigated. Something remains, but we must rejoice at what we have obtained, and, above all, in regard to the free action of the Pope in the government of the church in Prussia.’SITI July 28, 1887, page 464.16

    “If Bismarck is not entirely blind to all Protestant sentiment, and is not utterly consumed by his love of Prussian imperialism, whatever becomes of the people, he must have some sense of shame when he reads the Pope’s allocution-that this triumph of Romanism in Germany is made the basis of an appeal to Italy to range herself on the side of Papal interests. Germany more Catholic than Italy! That is the picture now, and the world is told so by Leo XIII.”SITI July 28, 1887, page 464.17

    “Owning the Responsibility” The Signs of the Times, 13, 29.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Speaking of the wild methods of the Salvation Army the Christian Advocate very appropriately remarks that:-SITI July 28, 1887, page 464.18

    “If the Methodist Episcopal, the Baptist, and other churches were as energetic, zealous, and spiritually-minded as they should be, and in earlier times were, and as deeply interested in the conversion of the abandoned as the Methodists were when they could get a hearing from no other class, there would be no need or place for any such irregular guerrilla religious warfare.”SITI July 28, 1887, page 464.19

    There is no need anyhow for any such irregular guerrille religious warfare as is carried on by the Salvation Army; but there is a world of suggestiveness in that idea of the Methodists being deeply interested in the conversion of the abandoned, when they could get a hearing from no other class. Those were the days of the genuine power of Methodism, because they were the days of her humility. But now her humility is gone and her power with it. Shorn of her humility, she is as weak as any other, and can only stand and complacently view and tacitly indorse the irregular guerrilla religious warfare of the Salvation Army. Nor is she the exception.SITI July 28, 1887, page 464.20

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